Types of Pilot Licenses for You

Discover what it takes to become a licensed pilot, including the different types of pilot licenses available, the requirements and qualifications needed, and how to get started.

Becoming a pilot is a dream for many people who are passionate about aviation and flying. However, before taking to the skies, it is crucial to understand the various types of pilot licenses available, the qualifications needed, and the steps required to obtain them. From the requirements for obtaining a private pilot license to the specialized training required for commercial pilot licenses, read on to discover everything you need to know about pilot licenses.

If you've ever dreamed of soaring through the skies and piloting an aircraft, obtaining a pilot license is the first step towards achieving your dream. Becoming a licensed pilot can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience, but it requires dedication, commitment, and hard work. 

Understanding the Different Types of Pilot Licenses

Before you can begin the process of obtaining a pilot license, it's essential to understand the different types of licenses available. The three most common types of pilot licenses include:

  • Private Pilot License

  • Commercial Pilot License

  • Airline Transport Pilot License

Each type of license comes with its own set of requirements and qualifications, and it's essential to determine which license aligns with your goals.

Steps to Becoming a Pilot

Meeting the Requirements

Before starting flight training, there are specific requirements that aspiring pilots must meet. These requirements include age, language proficiency, medical certification, and educational background. It's crucial to understand these requirements before committing to flight training to ensure you meet the minimum criteria.

Starting Flight Training

Once you've met the minimum requirements, the next step is to enroll in a flight school or find a certified flight instructor. Flight training typically involves a combination of ground school and flight lessons, where you'll learn the fundamentals of flying, aviation regulations, and safety procedures.

Logging Flight Hours

To obtain a pilot license, you'll need to log a specific number of flight hours. For a private pilot license, the requirement is 40 hours, while commercial pilot licenses require 250 hours. During your flight training, you'll log hours flying solo, with an instructor, and with passengers.

Passing the Written and Practical Exams

After completing your flight training, you'll need to pass two exams: a written knowledge exam and a practical exam. The written exam covers various topics, including aerodynamics, weather, and aircraft operations. The practical exam consists of a flight test with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designated pilot examiner.

Obtaining Your Pilot License

Once you've passed both exams and completed the required flight hours, you'll be eligible to apply for your pilot license. The FAA issues pilot licenses, which are valid for a set period.

Popular Pilot Schools

  1. ATP Flight School: ATP Flight School offers a unique Airline Career Pilot Program that is designed to provide you with the training, resources, and airline partnerships necessary to become an airline pilot. With the option to complete the program in just seven months (starting from zero experience) and begin flying as an airline pilot in two years, this program offers a fast-track, total immersion flight training experience. The program provides Pilot Certification through Commercial and Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) – Multi, Single, Instrument. Additionally, ATP Elevate Ground School, Airline-Oriented Procedures and Experience, Fixed Cost, with Airline Tuition Reimbursement, and ATP Training Bundle and Comprehensive Online Training Courseware are also included in this program. ATP Flight School has 82 nationwide locations, and the program costs $96,995.

  2. Liberty University School of Aeronautics: Affordable Aviation Training: Liberty University School of Aeronautics provides an affordable B.S. in Aviation program, with tuition costs ranging from $22,500-46,800, which is less expensive than most residential non-flight bachelor's degrees. You can also obtain your Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII), Multi-Engine Rating (ME), and Multi-Engine Instructor (MEI) licenses, although it is not a requirement for graduation. With Liberty's unique hybrid program, you can complete your academics 100% online while attending a local flight school for your aviation training. The program allows you to obtain a full bachelor’s degree and your aviation licenses at an affordable price. You can complete your academics 100% online at home, the airport, or anywhere globally. Liberty University has 88+ affiliates nationwide, providing you with a convenient location to earn your licenses.

  3. Raider Aviation: Personalized Flight Training: Raider Aviation is dedicated to providing high-quality equipment and instruction with experienced and qualified instructors, creating a relaxed, friendly, professional and personable training atmosphere. With the exception of the ground school course, all flight and ground instruction will be conducted one-on-one with your instructor. Raider Aviation is an FAA-approved pilot school, offering a private pilot certificate with a minimum of 35 hours, although the national average is around 55 hours. With a full-time commitment, it is possible to earn your certificate in 4-5 weeks, but 4-6 months is more common. The cost of getting a pilot certificate varies depending on multiple factors, but a rough estimate for a Private Pilot certificate is around $12,000 to $14,000.

  4. Pelican Flight Training: Comprehensive Ground School and Practical Training: Pelican Flight Training provides FAA approved ground school using the Pelican Ground School or Computer-Based Training system. The program includes 35 hours in-class ground school, 15 hours pre- and post-flight briefings, 1.2 hours dual AATD ALX Simulator, 22.8 hours dual instruction in a Cessna 152, 11 hours solo in a Cessna 152, and 2 hours for the FAA Exam (Aircraft fee). The cost for the program is $12,012.

  5. Sky Borne: FAA 141 Program with All-Inclusive Training: Sky Borne offers an FAA 141 Program that provides full-time, all-inclusive training structured to give you everything you need efficiently. The program includes private pilot (PPL) for 12 weeks, instrument rating for 9 weeks, commercial single-engine for 14 weeks, commercial multi-engine for 3 weeks, and certified flight instructor for 14 weeks. The cost for this program is $83,955.

Obtaining a pilot license can be an exciting and fulfilling experience for those passionate about aviation. From understanding the different types of pilot licenses to meeting the requirements and completing flight training, obtaining your pilot license requires dedication, hard work, and a commitment to safety. With this guide, you'll have the knowledge and resources necessary to begin your journey towards becoming a licensed pilot.